A little less than a year-and-a-half after the Oakland Raiders took a chance on him in the supplemental draft, Terrelle Pryor will get his first NFL start. According to the team's official Twitter feed, Pryor will start Oakland's Week 17 contest against the San Diego Chargers:
Head Coach Dennis Allen names @terrellepryor starting QB for Sunday.— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) December 28, 2012
Though not completely unexpected, this move represents quite the flip-flop from Raiders head coach Dennis Allen. It was just last Sunday that the first-year coach told reporters that Pryor was not ready to even be an NFL backup.
"Terrelle's done a nice job," said Allen (per the San Jose Mercury News' Jerry McDonald). "He's working extremely hard. We don't feel like he's ready to be the backup quarterback yet."
Well, it seems that a few days of Pryor splitting reps with presumed starter Matt Leinart was enough to change Allen's mind. The former Ohio State star will get his first NFL opportunity because starter Carson Palmer hurt his ribs in last week's loss to the Carolina Panthers and has been ruled out for Sunday's contest.
Though it's mostly due to circumstance, Sunday seems like a smart time for the 4-11 Raiders to give Pryor a chance. The team gave up a third-round pick to take him in the 2011 supplemental draft, but he's made little impact in his first two NFL seasons. In fact, Pryor has more career receiving yards (22) than he does passing and rushing the football (seven) combined.
With Palmer's future with the franchise very much up in the air heading into the offseason, Week 17 may well serve as a one-week trial for Pryor under center. If he does well, this might just be the beginning of a new era in Oakland.